Uncle of slain woman turns to forgiveness

The uncle of a young woman brutally and publicly slain by her ex-partner at Malifa on Saturday says her grief stricken family has already turned to forgiveness. 

The deceased has been identified as Fa'aselega Tuna; a woman in her 20s and the second of her parents' children. She had no children of her own. She is from the villages of Iva and Salailua Savaii.

Her uncle from her mother’s side, Tafa Leuluaialii, told the Samoa Observer during an interview that the death of his niece brought unbearable pain to the family.

But Mr. Leuluaialii says despite their pain they have forgiven the man for what he has done "because it was something between them alone."

He says what began as the man going to the gas station to confront his ex-wife escalated into an argument and ended in a murder-suicide and an arson attack. 

After slashing the victim’s throat, the assailant - understood to have himself been formerly employed there - is believed to have set alight the Malifa gas station where Ms. Tuna had worked for some three years. 

The man has been identified as her first partner (or de facto) by Mr. Leuluaialii, who said the pair had split up a long while ago.

The deceased had been staying with her second partner with her family on her father's side in Toamua when the incident took place.

"When we first heard about the fire incident, when they said a woman had died, we thought it wasn't her; we thought she had run away," Mr. Leuluaiali'i said.

"This is how you know how stupid this kind of 'love' is, he wanted her to go with him. We are deeply affected by her sudden passing, but we forgive him for what has happened.

"It was something personal between them; it should not have happened but bad choices were made, which was definitely not the solution to whatever they were going through."

Mr. Leuluaialii said incidents such as this happen when a man lacks patience and a relationship with the Lord.

An eyewitness from the Ligaliga Funeral Service, said they ran outside of their office when they saw the attack.

They called the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A.):

"We ran outside and she was covered with blood; we called the F.E.S.A. and called for an ambulance if they had responded earlier the poor lady would still be alive”.

The burning of the gas station occurred at around noon. The F.E.S.A. and the Police soon arrived on the scene to contain the fire and block off roads. 

The F.E.S.A. Deputy Commissioner, Tanuvasa Petone Mauga told the Observer that the man involved had also been a former employee of Maroon Gas Station.

Contacted on Monday regarding the incident and its causes, he said the crime scene has been fully transferred to Police.

"The Police is handling all the investigation and finalising that one, unless the Police asks us to assist them but in terms of our work, once we establish it's a criminal associated incident, the Police will take over," he said.

Sieni Aumaga, Vice Principal of the Malifa Primary School across the road from the Maroon Gas Station said it was such a good thing it occurred on a Saturday and not in possible view of students.

Malifa Primary School enrolls about 1400 students from Year 1 to 8.

Ms. Aumaga especially said he did not approve of having a gas station located so close to a school building because it posed dangers. 

"It is too close to the school, right across the road, as well as there's another school right down from us too," she said.

"It was so lucky for the incident to be on a non-school day, if it was on a school day, the effect would have been massive. Because children get curious and the slightest loud bangs would have them running to see where it came from.

"Yes the fire was contained quickly but had it not been the case, these buildings and everything else next to it would have burnt along with it. The children would have been especially affected."

Ms. Aumaga was in the school grounds as the incident occurred but did not realise what had happened until she heard sirens moving in the direction of the burning gas station.


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